Dusseldorf Tomonkai

About the Dusseldorf Tomonkai

The Tomonkai in Dusseldorf is one of the liveliest, warmest and most mutually supportive Japanese communities in Europe. The atmosphere here is one where members can break down the barriers of age and profession and talk actively as equals. Thanks to our presence on social media, lately more and more students and Japanese expats have been joining up. If you expect to study abroad or be posted in the area in the near future, please search for “Dusseldorf Tomonkai” on the web. We look forward to your active participation!
Hodaka Suzuki (Graduated in 2007, School of Social Science)


New Year’s Party

The attractive points of Düsseldorf

Dusseldorf is the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous of all of Germany’s 16 states. Though only 1% of Düsseldorf’s population of 600,000 is of Japanese origin, the population density of Japanese residents here is the largest of any city outside of Japan. The area surrounding Immermann St., only a stone’s throw from the central station, hosts a number of Japanese companies and in fact closely resembles a Japanese business district. To be in Europe and yet feel so close in spirit to Japan is one of Düsseldorf’s most unique features.

Germany is of course well-known for its beer, and each town produces its own local style. In Dusseldorf a dark brown, top-fermented beer called “Altbier” is quite popular and is often drunk from small pint glasses. Dusseldorf also boasts of an area which is often called “The longest bar in Europe.” Near Bolker st. in the old part of town is a pedestrian street about 200 meters long; within it cluster over 200 different bars and pubs filled with people chatting and drinking pint after pint of Altbier.

White Asparagus is the traditional spring vegetable here, and in summer the sky stays light until around 11p.m.; so residents here can enjoy outdoor activities well into the evening. There are many opportunities to watch sporting events in Düsseldorf, and both the Dortmund and Shalke football clubs, featuring Shinji Kagawa (Japan National Team) and Atsuto Uchida respectively, are only an hour away.

Furthermore, as an expression of its close ties with Japan, each year Dusseldorf holds a festival called “Japan-Tag” (Japan Day) when roughly 730,000 tourists visit this city, a number greater even than the population of the city itself (600,000). Japanese pyrotechnicians supervise the event’s climax, a fireworks display over the Rhine River that sees large flowers of fire blooming in the night sky. For us this event always signifies the start of summer each year.

During Advent, roughly the four weeks before Christmas, the streets are decorated with beautiful lights and the whole town is filled with Christmas spirit and people drinking hot mulled wine. Then a short time after New Year’s, the season of Carnival begins. Dusseldorf is said to have 5 seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter and Carnival and each season has its own unique appeal and traditions. From long-time locals and short-term residents to visitors on business or pleasure, Dusseldorf is a town with a something for everyone.
Hisako Inomata (Graduated in 1993, School of Humanities and Social Sciences)



Scenes from Carnival

Message from the Chairman

Although the Dusseldorf Tomonkai officially began with the New Year’s party of 1970, friends and alumni had been meeting and holding small parties even before then. This year marks our 45th anniversary, and as usual we are planning plenty of opportunities for members to deepen their friendships such as parties, BBQs, bus trips, and Waseda-Keio softball and golf matches. In the past, before East and West Germany were reunified we also arranged tours to the Berlin Wall. Boasting over 100 current members and more than 1,000 cumulative members, the Tomonkai is one of the largest and most influential Japanese organizations in Düsseldorf.

Though Dusseldorf itself does not boast many significant tourist spots or landmarks, in terms of daily living, I think it is one of the best spots in Europe for Japanese living overseas.

I imagine it is much the same at other Tomonkai around the world, but merely having gone to Waseda and being graduates of the same school lets people form fast friendships when overseas. The Japanese community in Dusseldorf is unique in that the majority of its members are overseas representatives of Japanese companies. However, whether at home or abroad our lives are defined by the people we meet and the connections we make, so we are always happy to hear of the long lasting friendships members make through the Tomonkai and the wonderful memories they have of their stay in Germany.
Her members may change from year to year, meeting and parting with youth’s delight, but the Dusseldorf Tomonkai stands immortal.
Hiroshi Fujita (Graduated in 1974, School of Social Science)


Gathering of Managers

Messages from the Members

I was posted to Dusseldorf in April of 2010, and joined the Tomonkai here in January of 2014. Looking back, my only regret is not having joined up sooner! After all, the Dusseldorf Tomonkai has a wonderfully friendly atmosphere and is always buzzing with activities and events. I’ve made many friends since joining the Tomonkai, but one that particularly made an impression on me was at my first New Year’s party, when a fellow tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Aren’t you Nakagawa from research seminar?” This member was formerly an upperclassman in my research seminar at the School of Commerce, and thanks to the Tomonkai we were able to meet again after 20 years.
Keisuke Nakagawa (Graduated in 1995, School of Commerce)

When I’m at the club eating Japanese food and talking idly with other members, sometimes I forget that I’m in Germany and suddenly have the illusion that I’m back in Takadanobaba. And just like in my student days, there are times when I get carried away and end up with a hangover the next day. Being a member of this wonderful club allows me to refresh my tired body and mind and gives me renewed energy to face the next day. For future participants, a word of advice: be careful not to drink too much!
Suguru Semba (Graduated in 2006, School of Political Science and Economics)

Thanks to the initiative of other Tomonkai members, I am always making fascinating discoveries and learning something new about the local area. From delicious local restaurants to little known scenic spots, the members here are full of information that you won’t find in any tourist guidebook.
I’m extremely grateful to have a place like the Tomonkai where even people who have just met quickly end up talking like old friends.
Hodaka Suzuki (Graduated in 2007, School of Social Science)

List of Overseas Branches/
Overseas Tomonkai/
Overseas Tomonkai
Japanese Branches

Overseas Branches
Alumni Association in China / Alumni Association in Korea / Alumni Association in Taiwan
Overseas Tomonkai
Asia
Bangalore Tomonkai / Bangkok Tomonkai / Beijing Tomonkai / Cambodia Tomonkai /
Dalian Tomonkai / Hanoi Tomonkai / Hong Kong Tomonkai / India Tomonkai /
Jakarta Tomonkai / Kanan (South China) Tomonkai / Malaysia Tomonkai / Manila Tomonkai / Mumbai Tomonkai / Myanmar Tomonkai / Saigon Tomonkai / Seoul Tomonkai / Shanghai Tomonkai / Singapore Tomonkai / Suzhou Tomonkai / Taipei Tomonkai / Ulan Bator Tomonkai
Oceania
Brisbane Tomonkai / Melbourne Tomonkai / Perth Tomonkai / Sydney Tomonkai
North America
Boston Tomonkai / Chicago Tomonkai / Georgia Tomonkai / Hawaii Tomonkai / Los Angeles Tomonkai / Michigan Tomonkai / New York Tomonkai / San Francisco Tomonkai / Seattle Tomonkai / Toronto Tomonkai / Vancouver Tomonkai / Greater Washington Tomonkai
Central and South America
Brazil Tomonkai / Chile Tomonkai / Lima Tomonkai / Mexico Tomonkai
Europe
Belgium Tomonkai / Berlin Tomonkai / Denmark Tomonkai / Dusseldorf Tomonkai /
Frankfurt Tomonkai / Geneva Tomonkai / Moscow Tomonkai / Netherlands Tomonkai / Paris Tomonkai / Stockholm Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai
Middle East
Abu Dhabi Tomonkai / Qatar Tomonkai / Tehran Tomonkai
Africa
Egypt Tomonkai / Johannesburg Tomonkai / Kenya Tomonkai
Overseas Tomonkai Japanese Branches
Bangkok Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Beijing Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Dusseldorf Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Gaoxiong Tomonkai Alumni Association / Hanoi Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Jakarta Tomonkai Alumni Association / Los Angeles Tomonkai Japan / New York Tomonkai Tokyo Branch /
Paris Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Saigon Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Shanghai Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Singapore Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Tokyo Brazil Tomonkai / Tokyo Hong Kong Tomonkai / Tokyo Melbourne Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai Tokyo Branch